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Corrupt Police on the Roads

In cooperation with: Visit Mexico
Level Contributor
5 posts
6 reviews
Corrupt Police on the Roads

Hello, everyone.

It's been awhile since I have been to Mexico, but in many of my previous travels, I have always encountered corrupt police who pull over tourists traveling by car. They usually expect bribes or take and hold your passport if you have no cash on your person. Another friend of ours recently traveled around Riviera de Maya and ran into a similar issue.

Would anyone be able to elaborate on this, and if it still happens often? My husband and I will be traveling around Mexico via car rental. We are wondering if we should leave all necessary documents in a locker at the airport or just fib our way out of bribing a cop (that we have no money/legal documents on us) should worse come to worst. Also, we plan to exchange dollars for pesos at the airport for the better exchange rate, but do not want to be pulled over with pesos on us.

Thoughts? Suggestions? Advice? Thanks in advance.

Level Contributor
5 posts
6 reviews
11. Re: Corrupt Police on the Roads

@november_moon: thank you~

Kansas City...
Level Contributor
1,579 posts
24 reviews
12. Re: Corrupt Police on the Roads

And don't pay the bribe...just reinforces bad behavior. Argue your point politely and offer to go to the station to pay the fine. If you really weren't breaking the law...they will back down.

Also, there is new legislation that gives tourists a "free pass" for their first small infraction. Your rental car company should be able to give you the card. If I find the info, I'll post it...don't remember where I read it, but it was recent (since my last trip down in August anyway).

Oh, one more tip...never fails us. Don't look at the police when you pass through the checkpoints outside Playa especially. If they see you looking, they very often pull you over. Won't bother to pull you over if you aren't looking at them. Sad, but true.

Kansas City...
Level Contributor
1,579 posts
24 reviews
13. Re: Corrupt Police on the Roads

Found it...http://www.riviera-maya-news.com/state-officials-fight-corruption-related-driving-offences/2015.html

Vancouver
Destination Expert
for Akumal, Riviera Maya, Quintana Roo, Puerto Morelos
Level Contributor
45,887 posts
14. Re: Corrupt Police on the Roads

Sherm: this tourist thread has sadly turned out not to apply to speeding

But if ANYONE read the ongoing long car rental thread, I got scammed twice last week (1st time for both)

REPOST

The Pemax heading south by the Bahia resort. By myself.

Asked for 200 pesos - young thin fellow. Next thing I know an older lady begins washing every window - then asks about air pressure/tires. WARNING. Spider sense is activated

Keep one eye on the pump - I see it stops at 147 and magically turns to 200. I begin shaking my hand and they go into damage mode. I demand my 53 extra pesos of gas and ask for a receipt (recibo). I smile - almost got a free car wash and they didn't get a tip

Then on my way to drop off the car for my plane ride home, I finally got pulled over by the motorcycle cop.

Just had finished going through the police checkpoint before the airport turnoff. Did not see any speed limit sign reducing the 80 km speed limit but traffic all around was slowing down quite a bit

After the airport turnoff, I got nabbed.

After giving him my DL, he stated I had been caught speeding by a radar camera at the police checkpoint doing more than the 50 km/hr approaching the checkpoint. He talks into his radio - I doubt anyone on the other line.

Asks if I was going to the airport. today/tomorrow

I said no. Staying in Isla Mujeres for 5 days but would be glad to stop by the police station in Cancun to discuss my ticket.

He looked sad. No airport. He waved me on

My wife and I high 5'd after we left

Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
579 posts
13 reviews
15. Re: Corrupt Police on the Roads

Good line Sundog. Never say you are going to airport. I'll keep that one in mind.

Think I got nabbed at same Pemax. They had me so baffled I am not sure whether they got me or not. Lol. Need to watch more closely next time. That would be March. Can't Wait. 98 days to go.

Cozumel, Mexico
Destination Expert
for Cozumel, Merida
Level Contributor
48,376 posts
157 reviews
16. Re: Corrupt Police on the Roads

"there is new legislation that gives tourists a "free pass" for their first small infraction"

I may be wrong but don't believe their is any legislation but something that just came of a meeting of tourism and other officials. One problem is, an officer with any imagination can come up with something more than a "small" infraction and say this does not apply.

Kansas City...
Level Contributor
1,579 posts
24 reviews
17. Re: Corrupt Police on the Roads

Hmmm, I'll ask the guys at American next week and see if they know anything. I have some of those sindicatura stickers that they advise you to stick or tape on your rental car...but my husband thinks they will just inflame the police, so he won't let me use them. :) I do happen to have a printed version that I tape on the back of my DL in case I'm ever stopped, but I haven't tried that yet - I personally haven't been stopped. I do they whole...if I can't see them, they can't wave me over thing. Meaning, that I'm concentrating very hard on the road when I go through the checkpoints/police spots in the middle of the highway.

BTW, the one exception to my don't look rule is the police checkpoint on the Tulum beach road. I always give those guys a big wave and all (or at least most) of them wave right back. :)

Kansas City...
Level Contributor
1,579 posts
24 reviews
18. Re: Corrupt Police on the Roads

I HATE filling up with gas in Mexico!! It's such an ordeal. I just say "doscientos magna por favor" (or trecientos if I need more than 200 pesos) and show them 2 100 peso notes. If no problems, they get a tip...problems, I shake my finger and tell them no tip. ;) That seems to work pretty well - that and keeping an eagle eye on the pump.

Cozumel, Mexico
Destination Expert
for Cozumel, Merida
Level Contributor
48,376 posts
157 reviews
19. Re: Corrupt Police on the Roads

"I have some of those sindicatura stickers that they advise you to stick or tape on your rental car...but my husband thinks they will just inflame the police"

I would vote with the husband on this one. I doubt it is ever good to be confrontational with the police. They can always win. But often just being polite with them will just get you a warning. I have no actual experience with them but it is what friends tell me.

Cozumel, Mexico
Level Contributor
5,881 posts
13 reviews
20. Re: Corrupt Police on the Roads

You can arm yourself with all the Articulos, stickers, printed material, etc. Once you are stopped for a moving violation, it's all about your negotiation skills. Sorry folks. That's how it works. Your best defense, and to keep costs down to a minimum, is a basic knowledge of Spanish. Being able to converse even in a simplistic way to the officer will go a long way. Most police are sympathetic and understanding if you can convey your thoughts about your innocence to them in a basic and direct way.

Edited: 11:43 am, December 08, 2015